“Which Loved Best”
Here’s a poem for Mother’s Day that will make some people cringe. In fact, one of the sources I read called the poem that dreaded piece. This morning I went on a hunt to find some original information on the author, Joy Allison. After about 30 minutes, I came up with the best source at http://en.Allexperts.com information by Ted Nesbitt. Mr. Nesbitt is a librarian who has the motto: “leave no stone unturned.”
Joy Allison, AKA Mary A. Cragin, paid taxes in Millford, Massachusetts, in 1860. There are no collections of her poetry, so this may be a lone wolf poem. Cragin also penned a book Billow Prairie which is listed in the Library of Congress. It was published by the Congregational Sunday-School and Publishing Society in 1892. Mr. Nesbitt says that they are very few copies remaining today. The genre listed is Christian fiction. If Mr. Nesbitt could not find a birth or death record, I am not going to try!
Once you read this poem, if you have never memorized it as part of an elementary program, you can tell me which loved mother best: John, Fran, or Nell?
Which Loved Best
“I love you, Mother, said little John;
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on.
And he was off to the garden swing,
Leaving his mother the wood to bring.
“I love you, Mother, said rosy Nell,
“I love you better than tongue can tell.”
Then she teased and pouted full half the day.
Till her mother was glad when she went to play.
I love you, Mother,” said little Fan,
“To-day I’ll help you all that I can;
How glad I am that school doesn’t keep!”
So she rocked the babe till he fell asleep.
Then stepping softly, she took the broom,
And swept the floor, and dusted the room.
Busy and happy all day was she;
Helpful and happy as a child could be.
“I love you, Mother,” again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think that mother guessed
Which of them really loved her best?